Beyond E-mail: Maximizing Your iPad at a Conference
By ksautters | May 25, 2012 |
Don’t think that you’re sly checking your e-mail on your tablets and phones while sitting in a conference session. We see you. While there are some that are downright rude about it, the reality is that most people use them sparingly and appropriately. Tablets and iPads are quickly becoming a necessity for life outside the office, and anyone who doesn’t accept their use is living in the wrong century.
So why not take it one step further? Fully embrace the technology and use it to the fullest extent while you’re attending a conference. After all, tablets are easy to carry, have a long battery life, and certain Advisory Board members tell me the larger screen is easier on the aging eyes (as I’m sure I’ll soon discover). Here are some of my favorite uses for a tablet at an event:
Handouts and PowerPoints: Big printed binders and packets of handouts are clumsy, heavy and wasteful, as they often get thrown away. Most conferences offer the option to download digital handouts, so access them from your tablet, and follow along at the conference. You can also take you notes on your tablet, making it truly a paperless endeavor. (Some note-taking apps include Evernote, Adobe Ideas, Penultimate and Note Take HD)
Taking Audio Notes: If your speaker allows you to record portions of a presentation, this can be incredibly cool. You can record the audio of the session, and type in notes at the same time. Some apps will allow you to click on a note and automatically hear the corresponding audio clip associated with it! (Options include AudioNote, SoundPaper and SoundNote)
Networking: When you get the attendee list, you can look up people on LinkedIn or the accounting community iShade to see if they are who you want to connect with. You can even send a message to ask if you can meet up at the event at a certain time and place. Likewise, once you meet a new contact, you can link with them then and there to make sure you don’t lose touch after the conference.
Tweeting: Many of you are already comfortable on Twitter, but some others might be interested in the online conversations between attendees before and during the event – even if you don’t tweet yourselves. Most conferences provide hashtags to allow you to see all of the comments related to the event or specific sessions. (Try Tweetdeck for this purpose.)
Coordinating Travel: Put all of your travel arrangements into one of these tools for quick and easy access and organization. You can even keep track of expenses! (TravelTracker and TripIt are options.)
Agendas, Maps and Location Information: What’s next? Where is it located? Access conference agendas and maps with your tablet and you’ll always know where you’re going! Looking for a good restaurant? Use the Zagat’s app to help you choose or Open Table to search and make reservations.
Getting Work Done: A conference is usually NOT a vacation, and there are a lot of tools that will help you keep projects moving while you’re out of the office. Digits is a calculator that tracks your calculations and can email the history. Dropbox creates a folder for documents that you want to share between your tablet, phone and computer – and allows you to provide access to other people as well. Sign-N-Send will help you to make notes and changes to documents that you can send back to the office. There are thousands more to select from, depending upon what you need to get accomplished.
Entertainment: Let’s be honest, this is why most people have a tablet. You can play games, read books, browse the newspaper, listen to music, watch movies… just please, don’t do any of this while you’re sitting in a session!
While all of these things are great, I urge you not to ignore common courtesy – leaving your sound turned up, ignoring the speakers on stage and sharing proprietary material without permission are downright unacceptable. And, you might also consider getting your own portable internet access, as some venues don’t provide Wi-Fi, or charge an astronomical fee. Otherwise, you’re free to move about the conference – and the internet – at will!
How else do you use your iPad at a conference? Feel free to share ideas below!